Monday, August 29, 2011

through my child's lens

(an unedited series of pictures taken by my children. these are images worth capturing in their eyes.)

(will's lens)

if you can figure out what this is,
then i'll give you a dollar.
if i figure out what it is,
will you give me a dollar?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

through my child's lens

(an unedited series of pictures taken by my children. these are images worth capturing in their eyes.)
(will's lens)

Monday, August 22, 2011

the apron strings a little shorter

it happened.
i sent my 1st child to kindergarten today.
he was delighted.
up at 6:45,
but unable to get out of my bed.
fully dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed, & bed all made all by himself by 8:00.
he ran all the way to school.
he was excited.
i have hope in my heart that he will always be this excited for school!
(don't worry, i can be realistic.)
his favorite parts of the day were...
(he played with harrison and learned how to climb through monkey bars to get to the top from a 2nd grader.)
having his aunt aubrey cross him across the street,
and chinese.
he is fascinated with his chinese teacher.
there was no fear or anxiety in this child;
that made it easier for me.
i am excited for him and for these new adventures.
however, all morning i couldn't stop feeling like something was missing,
a part of something that i have always known as a mother.
this feeling grew into a tender ache that hasn't quite gone away.
i ache that i only got 5 years with him all to myself before i had to turn him over to the world.
it just doesn't seem right in this tender mother's heart.
i'm still trying to process this system that has snatched up my firstborn.
thankfully there are adventures to be had and time to be spent with 2 other delightful children.
and i will always savor comments like this even more than ever:

i asked sam if he missed his brother and sister.
he said "not really. the only person i missed is you."

and that is a mutual feeling.

Friday, August 19, 2011

friday book review: the night before kindergarten and preschool

the night before kindergarten
the night before preschool
by natasha wing
suggested reading level: ages 3-6

each of these books are set the night before kindergarten and preschool. each book discusses the typical emotions a child and a parent might be feeling the night before school starts. the cute rhyming text and simple illustrations capture the fears and excitements that are experienced with such a big new beginning. the character in each book has a positive experience and can't wait to go back to school the next day.

my mom got my boys these books,
and they are by far the cutest books about the 1st day of school that i have read!
my boys LOVE them!
they want to read them all the time,
and it has gotten them very excited about starting preschool and kindergarten.
i even think it identified their fears and excitements that they were unable to express with their own words,
but this book captured it beautifully for them.
in the kindergarten book there was a part with the moms & dads crying about leaving their kids at school for the 1st time.
after reading that page,
sam looked at me with worry in his eyes and made me promise i would NOT cry at his school.
i promise i won't cry on the outside.
it gave me the opportunity to explain to him that moms & dads cry because they will miss being with their kids all the time and they cry because they are so proud of them.
it provided the perfect chance for me to express to him how much i will miss him because we have always been together and to tell him how happy i also am for him to start kindergarten because of all he will learn and how much fun he will have.
will has been excitedly indifferent to preschool.
in the preschool book the children have to take naps.
will was confused because he does NOT want to take a nap at preschool.
i explained that is not how his preschool will be,
and we talked about all the fun things he will do there.
sam, with his arm around will, told him that some kids cry at preschool but that's ok because miss angie will help them.
i think they are both pretty prepared,
and i am very hopeful they will have a fantastic time.
i am excited for their new adventures,
even if i feel a tear inside from time to time.

if you are looking for these books,
don't be surprised if everywhere you look is sold out.
i couldn't find them on amazon or barnes and noble.
my mom got these at smiths market place,
and they are only $3.99.
i don't know if they have anymore.
the kindergarten book also has a companion sticker book story that is fun.
there is also a night before 1st grade book if you don't have a preschooler or kindergartener.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

almost 2 years, but still....

i know it has been almost 2 years since pete's near death cardiac arrest,
but i still think and speak of it often.
i especially think of it at times when he is wrestling our boys on the grass in our front yard,
pinning sam without a chance,
and using will as his sidekick,
and finding a way to throw maggie into the mess.
i find myself shedding tears of gratitude that we got another chance,
and we have not forgotten how lucky we are.
perhaps with the passing of more time,
we have grown more grateful as we have seen all the experiences we would have missed if he would have left us.
we won't waste this time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

processing play


i wasn't much of a player as a child.
play for me was organizing games, organizing things, and bossing people.
i did love playing school,
but only if i got to be the teacher.
this is not how my sisters played.
they played barbies for endless hours at a time with a big major plot that resumed every time they pulled out the barbies.
typically it was a plot that involved tragedy and rescue.
i could recognize even then that i played different,
and i worried if my type of playing was ok.
surprisingly, all these years later,
i still worry about play.
i know how very important play is for children,
so i often worry if my children's play is right, or ok, or what they need.
because of the exposure to the players in my life,
(my sisters & their kids)
i always think play is supposed to happen like this:
buy a toy,
like a train track, legos, hot wheels tracks, etc.,
the children will spend endless hours setting it up how it is intended,
turn it into their imaginary world,
and sit alone for large amounts of time playing.
they have great children players;
that is really how their kids play.
that is NOT how my children play.
they CAN play that way when they are with other kids,
but that is not their choice of play when left to their own vices.
my boys,
and even maggie,
prefer play that doesn't even involve toys,
or involves more physical action,
more destruction,
like taking things apart or trying to figure out something works.
or using lots of tape or bungee cords.
or something that involves pulling tree branches out of trees.
or wrestling relentlessly with one another.
or making intricate pillow forts at the bottom of the stairs to jump into.
or making zoomer motorcycles.
and a lot of things that need the assistance of their mother.
and on and on.

i recently walked into the front room to a very typical site.
they had set up their hot wheels tracks,
but not in the "normal" way.
the blast off gate was connected to a long series of tracks that started at the back top of the couch,
went down and across the floor,
and through the spindles of the banister.
at the end of the track they cleverly placed a glass of water.
the goal was to get the red lightening, green machine, or purple phantom car into the water cup as they dropped from the end of the track.
i ended that fun by explaining we could not have water on carpet stairs.
it didn't stop them.
instead they diverted the end of the track out the front door,
off the porch steps,
and then into the cup of water.
this game actually lasted for quite some time.
i didn't even know what to do with myself because play at our house NEVER lasts this long,
so i just watched their process.
and then i watched their play shift to another activity.
they emptied their big toy buckets,
put them in the bathtub,
and filled them up for "hot tubs".
they sat in their for quite some time.

so the point of all this?
i used to wonder much more than i do now if their play was ok.
i worried if i had forced my style of play on them
and worried if they were developing play conflict like i did.
and i have really worried if i just have not bought the right toys.
i'm learning now that play doesn't always look the same,
but it's still play.
at the suggestion of a family member i have attempted a more structured type of play.
the kind where i sit on the floor with them and try to direct them on how to play with toys the right way.
it never works.
they grow very bored.
so as we are cleaning up the atypical messes,
putting back together the broken experiment of the day,
or trying to find lost hot wheels cars in the bushes,
i will just remember the powerful wonder of play,
and be glad my children are experiencing it at such intense levels.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

unexpected improvements

my foot is healing quite nicely.
every day it functions more & more like a new foot.
like how it didn't sink and fold when i stepped in the sand at the beach.
it stayed flat for the 1st time ever.
and how on our hike over small boulders around bloomington lake i couldn't remember which foot i was supposed to lead with.
i've always led with my strongest foot.
the oddest and most welcomed improvement is how it has grown a shoe size in 2 weeks.
it has flattened out so with the new tendon pulling it down and with the fused toe.
i can't even wear the small shoe i bought the day my cast came off unless i want a serious indention on my toe and if i want it to feel like it is bleeding.
it is not quite the same size as my other foot,
but i'm hoping time will continue to improve this.
therapy will beginning soon,
so there will probably be unexpected improvements even from here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

through my child's lens

(an unedited series of pictures taken by my children. these are images worth capturing in their eyes.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

the still in the spinning

i wish i could bottle up the stillness of vacation,
at least the stillness i feel inside,
like nothing else matters except fun & togetherness.
the excess distractions of our lives become nonexistent.
now that we are home,
and our lives start spinning again,
perhaps we will still be free to throw on our hats, spend the days outside in the dirt & water being still enough to enjoy the best wonder we have...
each other,
just as we spent the week doing at bear lake.

Friday, August 12, 2011

friday book review: but not a book this time

family tree cd
by Frances England

England's cd is a blend of folk, indie, and old time sounds to explore themes of family life, animals, friendship, and empowerment. this is a children's cd, but it is truly music the whole family can enjoy.
to preview the music please click here.

for quite some time i have been putting my boys to bed with calming music playing.
it started out as primary church songs,
and then went to lullabies,
and then to the audio books like "where the sidewalk ends",
and now we have been on a musical kick.
(their favorites are oliver & wicked for kids).
we check out such a variety of music cds at the library,
load them to iTunes,
and burn cds of our favorites for our collection.
we hit the jackpot with the Family Tree cd that will picked out at the library.
i knew i would be hooked simply by looking at the cover,
and once i heard it,
i was hooked.
my boys are hooked.
they love listening to it day and night.
their favorite is "i scream, you scream".
i feel like a seed is planted every time i expose them to something like a variety of music,
and the way we feel listening to this cd is a feeling i would happily authorize exposure to.
so, check the library for this cd,
but i will keep our copy until the due date just because i love the album cover so much.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

for my grandma

my grandma almost always made my dresses when i was growing up,
and i loved them
and was proud of them.
now from time to time she will make and send a dress maggie's way.
the latest dress arrived in a fabric that she used for a dress for me in the 6th grade.
too bad i don't still have the dress;
perhaps it would be fun to match.
maggie loves her new dress,
and i love having a grandma who is so special.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

will it last forever

would we be so lucky to always have our boys offer to rub our feet with lotion,
rub our backs with lotion,
and then finish the rub with a rolling pin
all while reading bedtime books in their floor?
i'm realistic.
i know what to expect.
but i will hold onto these little hands on my back and feet
and record their enthusiasm in my memory
as long as i possibly can.
and then i will draw upon the fondness in the harder days.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

just another update

my foot feels new,
but it hurts.
pretty bad actually.
there are moments when it hurts more than the surgery itself did.
my ankle is constantly swollen.
my whole foot actually.
so swollen that my shoe leaves an impression.
(plus, i have to leave those shoes on all day for support.
i can tell my achilles is tighter than ever,
and that is a good feeling if i could get over the soreness.
and wow on my calf muscle!
it has never really been used for 32 years,
so you can imagine how sore it is from this workout.
this recovery is much more demanding than the surgery part &
so much easier to over-do it.
i'm nervous pete only has 1 more week at home!
he has done a terrific job and been a great help.
if i don't get the speed on for this recovery,
then i'm not sure how i will manage without him.
so much for assuming that life would be easier when my cast came off.
kind of like that feeling that life will be so much easier when you're not pregnant anymore.
it's better, but not necessarily easier.
i should have known better.
time will make the difference here,
so i am still very hopeful,
even if you find me complaining about the pain from time to time.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

a new beginning

my cast came off today.
i'm still a bit lost for words.
i feel as if i've been catapulted into a new life,
at least a new body.
the leg was incredibly hairy & dry & weak when the cast came off,
but that's not the change.
it moves different.
it is tight.
it doesn't flop.
it doesn't fold up.
my big toe is straight,
and i pushed myself up on my toes for the first time ever in my life.
it has healed perfectly,
but the doctor explained that the real healing is just beginning and will go on for months.
i need more muscle before it all begins to work to full capacity.
i don't do well waiting,
so i pushed it too hard tonight to prove to myself that the healing would come quickly.
the boys wanted me to celebrate by riding my bike with them around the block,
so i did.
i went shoe shopping.
i went to target for groceries,
and my foot became so swollen & painful i didn't know how i was going to get out of the store.
thankfully i'm home now,
painted my toenails,
and kept it up.
the real healing is just beginning.
i will still be using a crutch for support.
i will be wearing running shoes
(still 2 different sizes)
but with no custom orthotic.
and i still won't be chasing my kids like i thought
or scrubbing my house from top to bottom like i hoped.
i still have healing to do,
and i'm grateful it is free to heal with the doctor's reassurance that there's no way i can undone or injure the work at this point even though it may feel like i can.
what a relief!

Monday, August 1, 2011

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